home image
what's new page
about the Haiku Society of America page
how to join page
hsa meetings page
Frogpond magazine page
newsletter page
annual contests page
haiku collections page
HSA member anthology page
news page
links page
contact us page

2003 HSA Bernard Lionel Einbond Renku Collection

The Haiku Society of America sponsors this annual award for renku of 36, 20, or 12 stanzas. (Renku is a form of renga). See also the contest rules and the judges' commentary for the Einbond award. For more information about the goals of this contest, download a copy of the HSA Renku Contest Committee Report (pdf) published in Frogpond XIII:2 (May 1990).

Commentary by year: 200720062005 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Winners by Year: 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001


 


2003

The judges for the 2003 competition were Alice Benedict & Patricia Machmiller.
Commentary for 2003


Grand Prize: New Coolness

A nijuin (20-link) renku at Onawa, Maine, September 6-7 2002, by Yu Chang (yc), Paul MacNeil (pwm), John Stevenson (js), and Hilary Tann (ht). Rotation by Paul MacNeil.

new coolness
a perfect day
for climbing

js

red maple leaves
line most of the bootprints

pwm

she reads
mother's pancake recipe
by moonlight

ht

the usual suspects
of a murder mystery

yc

accountants
in three-piece suits
and handcuffs

pwm

I offer you my name
with a hyphen

js

at Las Vegas
our best man
hits the jackpot

yc

bright nasturtiums
frame the herb garden

ht

all five
car doors
frozen shut

js

cardboard boxes
on a subway vent

yc

tattoos tensed
the harpooner
listens

pwm

eye to eye
with an eagle

js

it rained
on their golf course
rendezvous

ht

whispering...
under a pool umbrella

pwm

sangria
on the rocks
and slivers of moon

yc

the photojournalist
adjusts his lens

ht

we sense
the silent prayer
is about to end

js

rich soil
yields to the harrow

pwm

on the classroom wall
shadows
of magnolia blossoms

ht

homemade nets
for the smelt run

yc

 


2003 Honorable Mention: Open Convertible

A kasen renku led by June Hopper Hymas written by Roger Abe (ra), Ann Bendixen (ab), donnalynn chase (dc), Anne Homan (ah), June Hopper Hymas (jhh), and Carol Steele (cs) on April 19, 2003 in Livermore, California 

1
the climb up green hills
too narrow for cars to pass
open convertible
cs
2
warmed by spring sunshine
well-planned bricks, wood & glass
dc
3
a measuring worm
inches across my ankle
it tickles
ah
4
wasabi peas
in a porcelain bowl
ab
5
between the clouds
every now and then—
fingernail moon
ah
6
as a thank you gift
he paints her an autumn landscape
jhh
7
the quail struts and sings
along the deck railing—
"Chi-ca-go"
ah
8
can they see Godzilla
through a steamed-up windshield?
ra
9 talk over breakfast
of renewing our vows—
our coffee grows cold 
dc
10
angry gods
clash over the desert
ab
11
a new talk show
with Monica Lewinsky
minus her beret
jhh
12 back from China - my workmates
greet me with facemasks
dc
13
spotlight burned out
but tonight it doesn't matter—
summer moon 
jhh
14
lizards skitter any old way 
across the railroad ties
ah
15 above the floodwaters
Coyote lives on Mt. Diablo—
Miwok folk tale
ah
16
recommended restaurant— 
sullen waiters but good food
cs
17
Kiyoko - tell me
how would you tread on these
cherry petals?
dc
18
long lazy ripples where
willow tips touch the stream
jhh
19 silver windmills
line the ridges— 
only a few spinning
ah
20
hard-boiled eggs
yucky without salt
ab
21
ranch hands discuss
the merits of yodeling— 
the hogs just snort
ra
22
verse writing as a game—
we argue with laughter
dc
23
I make new clothes 
for my granddaughter's doll—
Christmas Eve
cs
24
winter mist - her neighbor
must enter a nursing home
ah
25 Marines play ping-pong—
an occasional distant 
burst of gunfire
ah
26 "that OLD BLACK MAGIC"
with Louis and Keely
ra
27
ninety thousand hits
she punches in another
sperm dot com
ab
28 feng shui at work
in our master bedroom
dc
29
moon of falling leaves
above the flicker's grave
we set a stone
jhh
30 November dusk
winds scour the cliff
ah
31
the salmon leaps
over obstacles, toward
that familiar scent
ra
32
a shaft of sun
on the bicycle's yellow basket
jhh
33
Michelangelo's
Madonna, can marble know
grief and joy?
ra
34
hand-in-hand the toddlers
lead the family hike
ah
35
Ikebana class—
the teacher arranges
first cherry blossoms
cs
36
Mother's day surprise
it must be good - she smiles
ra

 


Judges' Commentary for 2003


We chose two winning poems that generally hold to the formal structure of renku and also capture its playful collaborative spirit. Both poems, in their own distinctive ways, skillfully touch on a panorama of human experience with tenderness and humor.

The Grand Prize winner is New Coolness, a nijuin (20-link) renku with four authors. The poem as a whole has a stately tone, set at the beginning with the expansive sense of the outdoors on a fine early autumn day. As expected, the first two verses are tightly linked, followed by a shift in location, topic, and point of view in the third verse. After this calm start, shifts become more lively. A freer range of topics, as well as interesting shifts in scale and focus of each verse quickens the pace. Yet because verses all have a kind of contained intensity, reinforced by similarity in rhetoric and syntax, the poem remains contemplative throughout. The treatment of the flower verses is unorthodox. Normally, these verses must refer to cherry blossoms, but the authors chose to use "bright nasturtiums" and "shadows of magnolia blossoms" instead. The effect is interesting, especially in a 20-link poem in English. However, if you were expecting cherry blossom verses with their complex allusive resonance, these verses, though well-integrated in the poem, might be less captivating.

An Honorable Mention is awarded to Open Convertible, a kasen renku with five authors. This poem has a much wider emotional and rhetorical range than the grand prize winner. In addition to the variety of topics, the authors use quotations, questions, and varied syntax (not just statements). This adds liveliness to fast sections and heightened emotional impact to verses that are already in high relief (such as the first flower verse). More than one set of verses are beautifully composed and linked. For example the sequence from verse 23 to 26 is an elegant excursion from winter verses to the beginning of the series of love verses:

23) I make new clothes/for my granddaughter's doll/ Christmas Eve

24) winter mist—her neighbor/must enter a nursing home

25) Marines play ping-pong/an occasional distant/burst of gunfire

26) “that OLD BLACK MAGIC”/with Louis and Keely

However the poem's opening is not handled as skillfully. Topics are repeated (“sunshine” and “clouds”), and the wakiku (2nd verse) is a bit unfocused. Because the opening verses set the tone for the whole renku, these are serious shortcomings. In other sections as well, repeated topics create parallel links that tend to deflate the energy of the poem. We mention this because in our experience, renku benefits from careful editing, both during and after composition, with a view to formal renku rules.

What might at first seem like prescriptions and prohibitions, are more like efficient reminders to record a playful poetic conversation connected not by subject matter, rhetoric, or point of view, but by sensitivity to the feeling and experience that breathes in each verse. The winning poems do approach this ideal, and we congratulate the authors for their success!

—Alice Benedict & Patricia Machmiller, Judges

 

 


Home | What's New | About the HSA | How to Join | Society Meetings | Frogpond | Newsletter
Annual Contests
| Haiku Collections | HSA Anthology | News | Links
| Contact Us